County updates junk vehicle ordinance

The practice of accumulating a car and truck graveyard between one’s 
house and the road may be going by the wayside in Cook County.  Although a junk 
vehicle ordinance has been in place since about 1989, it was never 
documented properly with the state.  On May 22, the county board re-
adopted the ordinance with one small change that could affect a few 
people in the county.
Previously, parking, storing, repairing, dismantling, demolishing, or 
abandoning a junk vehicle was prohibited in lakeshore residential and 
single family residential zoning districts with one exception:  a 
resident could take up to 60 days to repair one inoperable registered 
vehicle.  A junk vehicle included any motor vehicle or trailer 
suitable for use on public thoroughfares that was not in operable 
condition, was partially dismantled, was used for spare parts, or was 
kept for scrapping, dismantling, or salvage.
The change in language added the word “recreational vehicle” to the 
Commissioner Bruce Martinson said he thought people should be given 
more than 60 days to repair inoperable vehicles.  Planning Director 
Tim Nelson said his department has only enforced situations in which 
the vehicles had been abandoned or were being used for storing junk.  
The level of staffing in his department limits enforcement, he said, 
so they prioritize what they enforce.  They believe they have been 
“reasonable” with enforcement over the last 20 years, he said, 
although some might think they should be less stringent and some might 
think they should be more stringent.
A motion to adopt the ordinance as amended passed unanimously.